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Neighborhood Health Center reaches out to younger crowd with Tuesday health expo


Washington County partners with local nonprofit to host health expo for youth

Washington County’s health providers are hoping more young people find preventative health services after a public expo this week.

On Tuesday, the Neighborhood Health Center is hosting a special health expo at its Hillsboro clinic, 266 W. Main St., on Tuesday, Aug. 23.

The event is an attempt to teach young Washington County residents age 24 and younger about their available healthcare options. Health Center spokeswoman Penny Moore said it’s important for young adults to understand what’s available to them.

"Our mission is to serve patients in the community," she said. "But we're very interested in youth because that population needs healthcare like everybody else."

People under age 24 — when not insured by their parents — often don't seek healthcare outside of an emergency, Moore said. More than 43 percent of the Health Center's patients are under 24, she said. Nearly one-quarter Washington County residents are under the age of 18, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

"It's a problem when you only seek healthcare in an emergency," Moore said. "We want to prevent a lot of expensive emergency room visits."

For that age group, privacy and comfort are especially important, she said.

"If they're more comfortable with their healthcare providers, they're more likely to seek care," Moore said, noting that when youth grow up with positive healthcare experiences, they're more likely to perpetuate that with their own kids.

More than 25 local organizations, including the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault resource centers, JobCorp, HomePlate Youth Services, the Hillsboro Fire Department and the Washington County Sheriff's Office will be at the expo answering questions from attendees.

The expo is also meant to increase awareness of Hillsboro's Neighborhood Health Center and its youth clinic. The clinic has walk-in hours from 3 to 7 p.m., on Tuesdays.

According to Moore, the Health Center is a place where teens and young adults can meet privately with health care providers to learn about birth control methods, get tested for sexually transmitted diseases, receive pregnancy tests, and learn about sexual health and get access to other services.

The Neighborhood Health Center has medical clinics in Hillsboro, Beaverton, Canby and Milwaukie, as well as dental clinics in Milwaukie and Oregon City.

Its Beaverton/Aloha clinic is closing at the end of September and will relocate to the Providence building at Northwest 185th Avenue and Northwest Cornell Road in Tanasbourne.

Since July 2015, the Neighborhood Health Center has contracted services through the Washington County to provide family planning and reproductive health services as both a primary and preventative healthcare provider.

The county previously closed its limited healthcare clinic in Hillsboro, and saw the last Beaverton clinic appointment on a year ago.

"Washington County continues to support our safety net collaborative partners because of the important role they play providing primary care services for the uninsured and clinical preventive services to vulnerable populations," said county Public Health Division Manager Tricia Mortell. "We are satisfied with the amount of effort that all partners have put into this first year of our contracting process. We are also meeting regularly as a group to talk about opportunities for continued improvement and new ways to further meet the needs of residents in Washington County. The group is currently submitting a grant to the Oregon Health Authority for additional dollars to increase services, which Washington County supports."

For more information, visitnhcoregon.org, or call the Health Center at 503-941-3016.

By Travis Loose
Reporter, Hillsboro Tribune
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